After Lisbon (6): Calling the sovereignty bluff
6 November 2009
Opponents of Lisbon have long claimed that the treaty sounds the death knell of national government. But when it comes to issues like finance, banking and public services, sovereignty doesn’t get much of a look-in from the apparently euroreluctant Tories, argues Seumas Milne in the Guardian.
So now we know what a "cast iron guarantee" from David Cameron is worth. The Tory leader's abandonment of his pledge to hold a referendum on "any EU treaty" that emerged from the Lisbon negotiations will surely come to bear out William Hague's private warning that Europe is his "ticking time bomb". He can't even resort to the government's fig-leaf defence that its own referendum promise was only for the Lisbon treaty's first incarnation as a European constitution.
Whenever Europeans have been given a chance to vote on this entrenchment of unaccountable power and corporate privilege, they have rejected it – or, in the case of Ireland, been made to carry on voting until they get the answer right. Once again, in a tradition stretching back decades, the European elites have swatted away the public and imposed their own favoured order. If it hadn't been for their backroom haggling, there was until the last few days the grotesque prospect of the co-architect of the Iraq catastrophe being foisted on Europe as its unelected president.
Now Lisbon has been ratified, Cameron today sought to wipe the memory of his ditched guarantee with a new promise of a prolonged struggle to wrest back the liberties of true-born Englishmen, repatriate social, employment and justice powers from Brussels, and legislate to require a referendum in Britain on any future constitutional change cooked up in Europe. Read full article in the Guardian...